Union Announces Support for CNE/Lifespan Merger

   Our Union has publicly announced support for the CNE/Lifespan merger. We have finally reached agreement with CNE and Lifespan representatives containing the principles our union has been advocating for over the last year. They include:

*Honoring our contract and all other agreements at Kent.

*Kent will be part of any agreement.

*Ability of members to work in as many CNE/Lifespan facilities as they want.

*No layoff for employees with 4 or more years of service.

*Agreement that a future Cancer Center or Central Laboratory will be union.

*Recommendation of a Board seat designated for a labor representative.

   These agreements are in addition to prior agreements made with Kent that include:

*No transfer of any services performed at Kent to another facility.

*No subcontracting of union work.

   Not only is the proposed merger better for our members, it is better for all of Rhode Island. A fully integrated Rhode Island based non-profit healthcare system will be far better than any alternative. There is no question that CNE cannot stand alone indefinitely. Having CNE purchased by a Wall Street backed for profit like Prospect Medical Holdings (owners of Roger Williams and Fatima) or Prime Healthcare (owners of Landmark) would be a disaster. Prime has paid out over $100 million to settle allegations of submitting false claims to Medicare, kickbacks and fraud. Prospect borrowed a half a billion dollars to fund dividend payments to their owners.

   The forces that are causing healthcare facilities to integrate and combine are not unique to Rhode Island, nor are they new. For decades now the national trends and economic pressures have forced the combination of healthcare facilities into bigger and bigger entities. Hospitals that haven’t grown have closed.

   An integrated system that includes Lifespan, Care New England and Brown University can do things to improve patient care that separate systems cannot. For example the new system will be able to build a state of the art Cancer Center to serve all Rhode Islanders, better coordinate care and a provide unitary electronic medical records system.

   While a CNE/Lifespan merger is closer now than ever before, it still has to obtain regulatory approval. In the coming weeks and months, our union will work hard to make the case for approval to the Federal Trade Commission, State Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Health.

Update on Lifespan Corp. and Care New England Health System Merger Application 

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Lifespan-CNE merger application disclosed; public comment sought – Providence Business News (